United States v
Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo: Selected Testimony (1973)
Opening Statement for the
Government by David Nissen
States District Court, Central District of California
me to the subject of the defendants' conduct.
obtained possession of each of these three items*, ostensibly in
with his work.
the other defendant, was not authorized to have access to them,
even when he
had been working at Rand earlier, because he had no duties at all which
required his access to them.
And, as I
say, by the time the documents were taken and the offences committed,
not working at Rand.
On March 3,
1969, under a Rand letter which appointed him as a courier,
Washington, D.C. suboffice and its home office in Santa Monica,
appeared at the Washington office of Rand and obtained ten volumes of
eighteen volumes that we are discussing. That's March 3, '69.
At that time,
and before he was allowed to take them, he was required to sign a
stated, in substance, "I certify that I will not copy, reproduce
records," et cetera.
August 28, 1969, again in the Washington suboffice, again with a
letter, defendant Ellsberg obtained eight other study volumes, the
that time being eighteen. Again he promised not to copy them, in
writing in a
Now in direct
violation of the Industrial Security Manual and the Rand Security
contrary to what he had promised in his memos to the security officer,
failed to deliver those eighteen volumes to the Rand Santa Monica Top
Control Officer so that they could be entered into the Rand records of
Instead he kept them outside someplace for himself.
them until May 20, 1970, a little over a year later. And you will hear
were ultimately regathered by Rand, through another Rand employee.
document was checked out on April 7, 1969, by defendant Ellsberg from
Secret Control Officer at Rand Santa Monica. And that document,
not returned to Rand until May 20, 1970, a little over a year.
report was checked out from the Top Secret Control Officer at Rand
on October 3, 1969, by defendant Ellsberg, and it was returned two
on October 17, 1969.
Now the two
defendants, Russo and Ellsberg, decided to copy these and other
They asked a person named Lynda Sinay for the use of the Xerox machine
office, and she agreed.
She at that
time was the girlfriend of defendant Russo. She is still a close friend
defendants and is named in the indictment as an unindicted, uncharged,
said that he had material from his vault at Rand that he wanted to copy
relating to the Vietnam war, he was going to leave Rand or was thinking
leaving, and he wanted to take it with him. He also mentioned that
Fulbright might like to see them.
occasions over a period of time Miss Sinay's office was used for this
Typically defendant Ellsberg would bring the documents to be copied
office, and would take them and the copies out, but on some occasions
copies may have gone with Mr. Russo.
Russo, Miss Sinay, defendant Ellsberg, and Mr. Ellsberg's
son, all participated in copying the top secret documents.
At that time
Mr. Ellsberg's girlfriend, Kimberly Rosenberg, was present in the
friend Vu Van Thai, also an unindicted co-conspirator, was present on
offices of Miss Sinay defendant Ellsberg's children were used to cut
secret markings from the top and bottom of the documents.
participating in the project was Miss Sinay herself and the two
it was obviously done so that it would hide from someone who should
them or casually look at them the true nature of the documents.
paid Miss Sinay for the use of her copying machine, by the way. . . .
defendant Ellsberg's copying and furnishing of these top secret
defendant Russo, co-conspirator Sinay and Thai, to his son and to
people, was in direct violation of a long list of rules and
he had promised to obey.
One was the
Industrial Security Manual; one was the Rand Security Manual; one was
security acknowledgment which was a condition of his employment;
one was his certificate
on the receipt for the documents when he obtained them that he would
them and so forth; the Presidential
Order 10501; as well as the federal criminal laws involved.
defendants, Russo and Ellsberg, knew of all these regulations and of
provisions of federal criminal law that dealt with these documents at
they committed their unlawful acts.
was stamped prominently in the front with a warning, and I can't quote
exactly, because I don't have it in front of me, but it warned anyone
transmission of the document to an unauthorized person would be a
law, because it was a document relating to the national defense.
materials that they received at Rand, including the security
that they signed, carried prominently displayed the full text of all
applicable law which they were under and which they signed that they
It is also
obvious from the evidence that they were fully aware that they were
the law, from merely the way they acted, cutting off the
inadvertently while at work in the office, the silent burglar alarm was
triggered on a couple of occasions, at least, and the police came to
and the defendants were in panic, because they knew that they were
something that the law forbade. . . .
from the FBI laboratory will reveal that examination of these
latent fingerprints of the people who I have been naming to you,
the prints of defendant Ellsberg. Only defendant Ellsberg was
possess the documents, and he only in connection with his official
which required his access. He had no authority to possess them for the
of copying them, which was strictly forbidden, or for the purpose of
them to Sinay, Thai, his son, Russo, or anybody else.
basically the broad picture of the case as you will hear it. . . .
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